From the city manager & staff
City of Clewiston
Dates to Remember
• July 27 — Tentative Budget Workshop: It has not yet been determined if the workshop will be virtual or in-person. If the workshop is virtual, instructions on how to participate will be included with the workshop announcement. If the city resumes scheduling in-person city meetings, an announcement will be made.
Office of the City Manager:
Citizens, business owners and other interested parties:
Despite the adverse impacts the coronavirus outbreak has had upon city operations for the past several months, the City of Clewiston has made progress in a number of areas. This pattern will continue on Monday, July 20, when the city commission holds their regular monthly meeting. The agenda information is available on the city website for review. Particularly noteworthy is the Annual Financial Report, which includes the results of the Independent Audit Report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2019. The entire audit is included in the agenda materials, the highlights of which will be reviewed during the meeting by new auditing firm Mauldin & Jenkins, CPA’s & Advisors. In my view, the report is well done and details indicate significant progress in efforts to improve upon financial management and results. Since this is the first audit performed during my tenure here as city manager of a fiscal year during which I arrived in late July 2019, I am particularly pleased with the progress the staff was able to make which is reflected in the outcomes of this annual financial review process. As noted in the auditors’ findings and recommendations, there is a short list of further refinements deemed necessary in financial management processes, but I am confident these changes will be accomplished without delay by the city’s very capable finance staff and reflect favorably on the audit assessment for the current fiscal year which will end in September.
There are a number of other important items on the upcoming agenda that I encourage you to review. City officials would welcome your input. As noted in the agenda materials, this meeting will be conducted virtually once again in an abundance of caution due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the community, county, state and nation. The situation continues to be a challenge locally based upon the data and all citizens are urged to continue to practice safe habits as recommended by health professionals and the CDC including use of face coverings, social distancing and recommended sanitation practices. For the most current information on recommendations and statistical information, visit the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 website, which includes a wealth of resources concerning the virus.
In closing, thank you for your continued support and interest in the City of Clewiston.
Community Development Director Travis Reese reports:
• The Hampton Inn was issued a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy on July 8, 2020. The Final Certificate of Occupancy should be issued within the next month.
• Best Western is in process of remodeling the interior of the hotel, this includes updating guest rooms and bathrooms. The renovation is an effort to update their facilities and provide guests with a clean, modern experience.
• All of eastern Hendry County schools have passed their fire safety inspections for the upcoming school year and are ready for occupancy.
• On June 18, Clewiston Fire and Rescue hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout. Over 60 local officers were served delicious ribs and chicken cooked by our wonderful volunteer firefighters. Sonny’s BBQ graciously donated all of the sides.
• On July 1, Clewiston Fire and Rescue hosted a Heat Stroke Prevention and Demonstration Day. Representatives from the Clewiston Police Department, Safe Kids Southwest Florida, Gulf Coast Humane Society and Florida Department of Children and Families were in attendance and spoke on behalf of their organizations. Clewiston Fire and Rescue demonstrated the process for rescuing a child and/or pet from a locked vehicle.
Library Director Natasha Hayes reports:
The library reopened to the public on July 9, 2020. At this time due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, our hours of operation and opening procedures are as follows:
• Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. This will allow staff the opportunity to empty the drop box, sanitize returned items, and open the branch safely in the morning while allowing an hour in the afternoon to provide an in-depth cleaning of the facility of our high touched surfaces and opportunity to empty the return bin again.
• Phone assistance for reference questions and help with placing holds for materials is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Patrons will be on a first come, first served basis with a maximum occupancy of 10 patrons at a time.
• Masks are required for entry.
• No in-person or group meetings/programs at this time.
• Visits are limited to one hour.
• Practice social distancing at all times.
• Return of all materials will occur at the book drop box outside.
• All materials will be quarantined for three days prior to being checked in and returned to shelves.
• All library fines that have accrued during the pandemic time period will be waived until further notice.
• Study rooms, newspapers and magazines are currently unavailable (duplicate newspapers are available for keeping on a first come, first served basis).
• Check out our virtual summer program by visiting the Clewiston and Barron Library Facebook pages. This wonderful program is brought to you and paid for by our partnership with the Southwest Florida Library Network (SWFLN).
Mrs. Diana is continuing to do an amazing job with creating the library’s digital arts and crafts programs as well as keeping our Facebook page updated and full of fun things to do and read. This week, the digital craft was “Tween Crafts!” All materials for the event were provided by the library in the form of a small kit. Patrons pick up the kits on a designated day and time to ensure contactless transactions. Patrons then log on to our Facebook page and join the fun through a Zoom meeting.
Mrs. Maria is doing a wonderful job bringing stories alive through her virtual storytimes which can be found on our Facebook page.
If you have not done so already, please join our Facebook page (Clewiston Public Library) in order to remain up to date on the library’s events and programs.
Public Works Director Sean Scheffler reports:
• Levee access is closed until the end of October.
• Mosquito Control trap counts over the last three weeks were (June 25, 29 and July 1,2):
○ Okeechobee Blvd. — June 25 - 900, June 29 - 123, July 1 - 700, and July 2 - 800
Grant & Project Updates:
• New sidewalk projects from Wendy’s to San Luiz, San Luiz to Alverdez and McDonald’s to Berner Road funded by FDOT are being planned with projected construction start dates of FY 2022/2023. Staff is seeking funding for 3/4 of a mile of other sidewalk improvements through a FDOT Safe Route To Schools grant program for needed sidewalk sections near school sites.
• The Ventura Avenue Rebuild Project is scheduled for 2020 construction. 60% plans and a permit application have been sent to SFWMD for review and permitting.
Parks Department Activities:
• Grass was cut down to the water line at the Boat Basin.
• The “T Dock” on the east side of the lagoon is closed for maintenance.
• The SplashPad is open.
Street Division Activities:
• Bunting was installed on the City Hall building and flags were flown on Sugarland Highway.
• Hedges were trimmed and cleaned up in Civic Memorial Park and on Central Avenue.
• Dead palm trees were removed at several locations in town.
• Two traffic grates at the corner of San Gabriel and Obispo were replaced. A large truck cut the corner and broke them off.
• Staff started installing river rock on Bond Street to help control the weeds. Two more pallets of river rock have been ordered to complete the project.
• A paving contractor repaired the areas around the manholes on the northbound lane of Royal Palm Avenue and the road shoulder of North Francisco.
Facility maintenance activities:
• Four more sneeze guards were installed in city buildings.
• Oak leaves were removed from roof drains at the Youth Center and golf course to insure all drains work properly.
• Gutters at the golf course, youth center, Sikes Park and library were cleaned.
• The floors at the John Boy Auditorium were stripped and waxed.
• Cleared all lines at the John Boy Auditorium to resolve plumbing issues.
• The Youth Center, John Boy Auditorium and Splash Pad were checked over to make sure they are ready to reopen.
• The ceiling in the sign shop had to be repaired after water from the A/C pan overflowed.
• An additional water line was installed at city hall so staff has better access to a water supply when we power wash the building.
• Staff replaced the air compressor in the golf course maintenance shop.
Golf Course Director Robbie Rush reports:
• Get all information of what’s going on at Clewiston Golf Course Facebook.
• Get on our E-mail list by going to the City of Clewiston Website. Go to the golf course division and at the bottom of the page you can sign-up on Constant Contact and get all Clewiston Golf Course information.
• Staff is continuing to do small projects around the clubhouse and golf course on a daily basis.
• In the process of trimming trees for beautification and hurricane season.
• The front yard at the golf course has been getting a lot of care over the last month to get it back in beautiful shape by fertilizing and spraying herbicide.
• Clewiston Golf Course Junior Golf Camp has been scheduled for July 20-24. For information contact the golf shop at 863-983-1448.
• Golf Course is closed on Mondays now for the summer.
• Summer Memberships are available. Contact the golf shop for more information.
• Summer rates are now in at the club. If you pay for 18 holes you can play as many as you want in that same day. Summer rates started May 15 and go until Sept. 30.
Code Enforcement Officer Debbie McNeil reports:
• Is your swimming pool in compliance with City of Clewiston ordinance?
City of Clewiston Ordinance
Sec. 110-2. - Definitions and construction.
Swimming pool means a portable pool or permanent structure that contains a body of water 18 inches or more in depth of 250 square feet or more of water surface area and intended for recreational purposes, including a wading pool. The term “swimming pool” excludes an ornamental reflecting pool, fish pond, or other type of pool, regardless of size, unless located and designed so as to create a hazard or be used for swimming or wading.
Article VI. - Supplementary District Regulations
Sec. 110-524. - Fences, walls and hedges.
(18) Swimming pool enclosures. All swimming pools must be within a screened cage, or shall be enclosed on all open sides by a fence which is a minimum of four feet above the existing ground grade and a maximum of six feet above the existing ground grade. All gates which are part of a pool fence or screening cage must have safety locks.
Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1-4 years. “Drowning deaths in Florida are up 70% when compared to this time last year, according to Water Smart Tots.” Pool safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Utilities Director Danny Williams reports:
Electric Crew Activities
• Remove vegetation from power lines;
• set new pole on Lopez Street;
• repaired street lights;
• removed old pole from field;
• repaired underground service in Aztec trailer park and installed four new underground services;
• installed new underground primary cable on two transformers on Lopez Street;
• repaired broken service wire and repaired overhead power lines from pole stuck by a tractor;
• repaired broken line crossing Francisco Street.
Your utility partners with customers to bring renewable power to the electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about net metering, please visit the FTC consumer information site at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0532-solar-power-your-home.
Water Sewer Crew Activities
• Repaired nine water breaks;
• performed repairs and replacement on two pumps on collection system lift station, reset three pumps.
Clewiston Utilities wants to remind everyone that certain items should not be flushed down the toilet, as it can clog and damage sewer systems in the community. For some, toilet paper supply at home is low during the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you are using items other than toilet paper in the restroom, please do not flush them. This includes “flushable wipes.” Despite the flushable claim on the container, the wipes shouldn’t be flushed.
Customer Service Department
• Your utility partners with customers to bring renewable power to the electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about net metering, please visit the FTC consumer information site at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0532-solar-power-yourhome.
• The public utilities building drive-through service will remain open to customers during normal office hours.
• Please remember to register with CodeRed (Reverse 911). This system allows us to contact you in case of an emergency or with other informational announcements. You may register by clicking on the CodeRed link at the bottom of the City‘s website page www.clewiston-fl.gov. You may update your information at any time through the same link.
• If you are considering replacing your air conditioner or insulation, remember the city offers a rebate program for those items. Most local contractors participate in the program and can give you information. You can also visit our website at www.clewiston-fl.gov or call our office.
• It’s lightning season! Don’t forget to sign up for your meter based surge protection! Visit our office today.
• Online Bill Pay is available on our web site at www.clewiston-fl.gov or www.municipalonlinepayments.com/clewistonfl.